Who Makes The Health Care Decisions

I have been thinking a lot about the unique ability women have to conceive and to carry life which is lost over time. When you run out of eggs, assisted reproduction is not very helpful which is why women over 40 years are advised to use donor eggs ( yes, eggs from a younger woman).

Oocyte cyropreservation - freezing a woman's eggs- was considered experimental until recently. Despite comparable results when compare to the results using fresh eggs and frozen embryos (I know this weird talk), the American College of OBGYN has advised women not to delay pregnancy in hopes of achieving pregnancy with stored away frozen eggs. This was advised because of insufficient data when egg freezing was used for this purpose.

Despite this warning, women are seeking out this expensive option ($10,000 hormonal stimulation,retrieving, freezing eggs, $1,000 annual storage fee, $5,000 thawing, insemination, and implanting fertilized egg)*. Women have recognized that for many struggling with when to become pregnant this is a game changer and are willing to pay. Employers have started to add health coverage for egg freezing as a job perk.

Who makes the health care decision in US? Is it the healthcare analyst, the policy maker, the insurance companies. No its the patients, as consumers of health, who decide. We should use our power more often.

* estimates only

Author
Sharan Abdul-Rahman, MD

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